29 June – 3 July 2017
Syaloom! Our team pioneered the first ever courier trip to Gereja Bethel Rohulkudus (GBR) church in Batam.
Some #funfacts for you, readers:
- The distance from Harbourfront to Batam is actually closer than Pasir Ris to Jurong!
- I took about the same time to get from Batam to Harbourfront, compared to Harbourfront to my home in the northeast
GBR church is situated within the village area south of Batam. It serves the local community with the focus of running children ministry programs in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The meetings are often held in the various houses of the villagers. GBR also has about 20 Bible students, aged 16-30 years old, who reside within the church with the responsibility of running the programmes.
On our first children’s ministry session, I teamed up with Jeannie, Wei Kian, and 3 students. We headed to a nearby village about a 15-minute drive away. As we got off the vehicle and walked towards the house where the gathering was held (only accessible by foot), Daniel Aritonang – a son of GBR, started calling out the names of the children as we walked by their houses. One by one, we would see them excitedly run out of their houses and follow Daniel as we marched towards the gathering place.
Almost instantly, we were reminded of the gospels where Jesus called out His disciples to follow Him. From a young age of 2-10, these children gather at the house every week to worship, pray and learn about God. It was amazing to see the energy and passion that the Bible students had for God and the children. This same passion was reflected in the children during times of worship and prayer. Clearly, this is a picture of discipleship.
The church runs such gatherings around the surrounding villages everyday, up to twice daily. It may also be done concurrently at different venues as the students are allocated to different places. As for our contribution to the ministry, we prepared crafts and games, which we would then use to illustrate a teaching.
Apart from children’s ministry, the team was often put on a spot when we were asked to share a word, a testimony or even sing a song. Thankfully, we had this covered as preparing a message was part of our pre-trip preparations. Over the next few days, we each took turns to share in the bible students’ devotional time, two youth services and two main services on Sunday. At times, we were led to pray for the students as well as various individuals among the community.
GBR is a church that spans way beyond its four walls. While they may not have much as compared to the churches in Singapore, Pastor Pantas Aritonang, founder of GBR, shared that 10 years ago, a missionary prophesied that there would never be lack in GBR; that God would provide for every necessity. From providing food for over 30 people residing in GBR daily, running children ministries all over, bills and many more – all these were evidence of His providence. God is doing a great work through GBR in Batam and we were indeed blessed to be a part of the GBR family for the 5 days.
For most of us, Batam was our first mission experience. Despite Batam being so close to Singapore, we saw for ourselves how the two cities are worlds apart. Our hearts are enlarged as each of us return home with the question, ‘What about my community and how may God use me?’
P.S. I strongly recommend this trip for students and youth who may be tight on budget but wish to experience the mission field. Remember my #funfacts? Now go! And be a blessing to the nations.
Luke Tan Ming Li
INDO 01, 2017